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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Withhout a debate, as was done in the Lok Sabha too last week, the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday gave its nod to a Bill to allow free air travel to “any number of relatives or companions” accompanying ministers on official tours.

The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2009, was passed by the Rajya Sabha without any discussion after Deputy Chairman K Rehman Khan said the business advisory committee has already decided to do so.

The Bill entitles ministers to take along “any number of companions or relatives” by air, but is subject to a maximum of 48 such fares per year. The MPs already enjoy such benefits. The Statement of the Objects and Reasons of the Bill said the idea was to end this discrepancy between ministers and MPs.

“It is observed that an MP is entitled to travel by air for each single journey performed by him, either alone or along with spouse or any other number of companions or relatives whereas a minister can avail this facility either for himself or for his family members only,” the Statement of the Objects and Reasons said.

“A Minister shall be entitled to an amount equal to the fare for a single journey performed by him, during each year, within India, either alone or along with spouse or legitimate or step-children, residing with and wholly dependent on him, or any number of companions or relatives, at the same rates at which traveling allowance is payable to such minister... subject to maximum of 48 such fares per year,” the amended clause in the Bill said.
(source : indian expresss)

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